Thomson Reuters Plans $9 Billion Buyback After Blackstone Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Thomson Reuters Corp. announced plans to purchase as much as $9 billion of its stock, rewarding shareholders after the sale of its financial-and-risk operations to Blackstone Group LP.

The price range for the tender offer is $42 to $47 a share, Thomson Reuters said on Tuesday. That represents a nearly 12 percent premium over the stock’s trading price over the past 20 trading days, according to a statement. Woodbridge Co., a Thomson family-backed firm that is already the company’s biggest investor, will take part in the deal and maintain its current 64 percent stake.

In January, a group led by Blackstone agreed to buy a 55 percent stake in Reuters’s financial-and-risk division in a deal valued at about $17 billion. The unit, which provides data, analytics and trading to Wall Street and financial professionals around the world, doesn’t include the news-gathering operation.

“We are committed to returning a significant portion of the F&R transaction proceeds to our shareholders,” Thomson Reuters Chief Executive Officer Jim Smith said in a statement.

Thomson Reuters shares rose as much 7 percent to $46.29 in New York on Tuesday. The company, which has a market value of $31 billion, is also planning to return about $1 billion to investors through regular buybacks. That means the total purchases would amount to about a third of its market capitalization.

Closing Deal

The so-called substantial issuer bid, or SIB, is slated to start on Tuesday and expire on Oct. 2. The Blackstone transaction is scheduled to close the previous day, and the SIB is dependent on that deal being completed.

Thomson Reuters will use a “modified Dutch auction,” giving shareholders more options about how much to sell and at what price.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, competes with Thomson Reuters in providing news and information.

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